An Obama administration plan to have U.S. military personnel oversee the construction of restrooms for a Kenyan girls’ school has come to an abrupt halt, after WND’s exclusive report on the diversion of defense resources.
The U.S. Navy had been tasked with carrying out the project, which would have involved the construction of a building containing 16 female “dry-pit latrines” for the Mpeketoni Secondary School in Kenya, President Obama’s “home country,” as first lady Michelle Obama once publicly put it.
The Naval Facilities Engineering Command on Tuesday terminated the project without explanation, issuing a notice simply declaring, “This solicitation is hereby cancelled.”
WND’s article prompted an outcry from readers, thousands of whom redistributed the piece via Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and other social media. Many sent article links to their elected representatives, demanding congressional action on what they characterized as a misguided endeavor inappropriately and wastefully assigned to the U.S. Navy.
The report simultaneously came under attack from leftist groups such as People For the American Way.
The group’s Right Wing Watch – a project “dedicated to monitoring and exposing the activities of the right-wing movement” – simplistically accused WND of opposing aid to children who lack access to basic needs like sanitation.
Neither the Navy nor the U.S. Department of Defense press office responded by press time to a request for an explanation of what led to the cancellation.
WND has reported extensively on the exponential growth of U.S. assistance to Kenya in recent years. The coverage includes an exposé of a sophisticated, advertising industry style scheme – which the administration subsequently covered up – to sway journalistic opinion in its favor.
Immediately following the Kenyan latrine report, the U.S. Agency for International Development launched yet even more programs in the East African nation. The endeavors include the subsidization of a health survey across all of Kenya’s 43 counties, plus an unrelated regional trade-promotion initiative that comes with a $70 million price tag.
The administration this week separately launched other aid projects in Africa, including a tentative USAID program to build an unspecified number of career centers in the kingdom of Morocco.
The Moroccan endeavor, which falls under the umbrella of the agency’s Youth Employability Project, aims to become “a central aspect of student life and empower target youth to access a range of resources to improve their job-seeking skills, learn about career opportunities, learn about themselves as future professionals.”
According to a Request for Information, or RFI, that WND discovered via routine database research, USAID acknowledged that part of the youth unemployment crisis in Morocco can be attributed to poor career-preparation choices by those young people.
The sort of university and vocational training programs that students pursue simply do not correspond with available jobs in the North African nation.
A society-wide sense of entitlement further frustrates university graduates, who hold on to “outdated expectations” of obtaining government jobs, the draft document points out.
Indeed, by the end of 2012, more than half of employed graduates obtained public administration jobs, despite a Moroccan Public Sector Reform law that eliminated 50,000 public sector jobs over the past decade.
“Yet many university graduates still cling to the idea that they are entitled to a civil service job upon completing their studies,” USAID pointed out.
The Obama administration is now seeking comments from contractors on how the U.S. can fix such problems in this 99.9 percent Muslim nation of 33 million.
The U.S. Trade and Development Agency, or USTDA, meanwhile is simultaneously subsidizing various U.S. and Nigerian energy-sector efforts to expand their business portfolios in Africa.
The agency this week began a search for a U.S. firm to perform a “desk study” of a solar power project that Nigeria Solar Capital Partners is considering.
But rather than paying for the study itself, the company is asking U.S. taxpayers to foot the bill.
While the initial study will cost just $7,000, it is the first step toward more in-depth studies and U.S. taxpayer-funded corporate “missions” to Nigeria that typically cost hundreds of thousands or a million or more.
USTDA, for example, separately is providing $257,000 toward a study of a proposed petrochemical facility that Honeywell Group may build in Nigeria.
Nigeria’s middle class will benefit from this support, the agency says.
“As Nigeria’s middle class flourishes, the demand for fertilizers and petrochemical products is increasing in Nigeria,” the agency said in a bid request.
The Obama administration has agreed to support Honeywell Group “with grant funding to support the early-stage development of the project as a means to connect with U.S. expertise.”
This financial support also will facilitate the corporation’s “entry into the fertilizer and petrochemical sector,” it said.
The latrine project had been promoted with an outdoor sign carrying both the Kenyan and U.S. flags.
The project was announced at a time when the Kenyan parliament passed a rather controversial – and female-unfriendly – bill that would enable men to marry as many women as they please, according to Agence France-Press.
The article said polygamy already is “common among traditional communities in Kenya, as well as among the country’s Muslim community.”
On Kenya’s polygamy bill, Katherine Pfaff, the Department of State’s press duty officer, wrote: “We don’t have a comment on this.”
The administration has made gender equality a priority, often contractually obligating federal vendors to weave gender-specific corrective measures into individual foreign-aid projects, regardless of their primary focus.
State Department visa regulations, however, differentiate between polygamy – “the historical custom or religious practice of having more than one wife or husband at the same time” – and bigamy, which the U.S. views as “a criminal act resulting from having more than one spouse at a time without benefit of a prior divorce.”
The following is a list of WND’s reports on Obama’s spending in Kenya:
- Obama moves to protect taxpayers … in Kenya!
- Obama studying spending more … in Kenya
- Obama finally fixing health care … in Kenya
- Obama funds Kenya project during shutdown
- Obama can’t stop spending — in Kenya!
- Obama drops hundreds of millions on (Kenyan) farmers
- Obama repackages Kenyan aid scheme
- Obama pushes $50 million more for Kenya
- Obama expands reading program – in Kenya!
- Obama pushing Kenyan ‘peace’ projects
- New Obama projects to boost Kenya power companies
- COVER-UP! Contracting system sanitized of Kenya documents
- White House rolls out Kenya propaganda plan
- Obama’s spending grows ‘exponentially’ – in Kenya!